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"A TERRIFIC TASK."

-----"---'---FIFTY-FOURTH…

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FIFTY-FOURTH CHURCH CONGRESS. THE CHURCH IN THE NEW AGE. GREAT CONGRESS AT LEICESTER. « From Our Representative LEICESTER, Sunday, BEHOLD, saith He that sitteth upon the throne, I will make all things new." This, I believe, is going to be the key- note of the Church Congress at Leicester, which I venture to predict will be one of the few outstanding Congresses. The number .attending may not be so large as on other occasions, but we have in the Bishop of Peterborough a President who is in every way admirably equipped to give the Church a lead as the dawn of a new era ushers in a day of glorious hope and tremendous possibility. Then the subject .of the Congressâ "The Church in the New Age"âis in itself an inspiration and an evidence of that new spirit of darirg and. adventure which is beginning to .permeate the old Church of England. One cannot help feeling that we are on the eve of great events, and wonderful as the study of the Church's past is, the best is yet to be." At any rate, if the new age it going to be worth while, the Church must buy up her opportunities while it is day. Such were some of the thoughts that dominated my mind on Sunday morairg When I saw the crowds streaming in all directiOlJS to the various churches, where [ special services were to be held on the eve of the Congress. I made my way to the ancient church of St. Martin's, which in due time will he the Cathedral! Church of the new diocese of Leicester. The Rev. F. B. Macnutt, for'rnerfly of Sllrbiton, is now Vicar. The service was remarkable for its reverence and hearti- ness. The Church's Need. As was fitting, the Bishop of Peter- borough was the preacher. It is impossi- We for me to give an adequate summary j of his retaarkable sermon. His the work of the Holy Spirit-is ah in- dieaiion that the Bishop puts first things first. There is no more urgent need to-day than that the Church should understand and appropriate the gifts of the Spirit. Basing his sermon on the words, As the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts ii. 4); Dr. Woods referred to the objects of the "Congress as outlined in the Con- ii i-tut.,oii. Thei,e, is," he said, par-j ticular point in this year's meeting. hVir now, if ever, some platfoilm should be found where the Church can utter her message. Now, if ever, theare should be an opportunity for resuming the Church's family gathering, when men of different schools of thought afteet together and realise afresh their fellowship. Now, if over, we need an occasion when the burn- ing questions of our polity and adminis- tra.tion can be threshed out in the wis- dom, as we hope it will be, of many minds. But when all is said as to the objects in view, there remains the supreme reason. We believe that the Church is animated hy. the Holy Spirit, a Spirit creative, Divine, inspiring. It is our reverent aixl humble hope that this Congress may prove a. vantage ground for the movement of that Holy Spirit. Every problem' which will be discussed calls for His guidance. Every enterprise calls for f His inspiration." b. First Recorded Effect. F It is significant," continued the Bishop, that the first recorded effect of the Holy Spirit's presence in the Church is utterance." In later days, when the i: Church had become part and parcel of Ihe polity of Europe, men thought of the Holy Spirit mainly as the source of in- tellectual power and judicial action." It is deploraible to think how little the Spirit's influence has been, as a fact, aamitted in Church Councils and how frequently they have 'become entangled in envy, hatred and malice-and all un- eharitableness." Utterances inspired r' by the Holy Ghost are not vague vapour- ingB of religious fervour. He inspires the intellect and touches the for one supreme objectâto enable the Society of Christ to bring its message home with power to the world. Witness of the Church- After recalling great leaders of the fchureh who were obviously vehicles of the Spirit, the Bishop pointed out that it was the Society of Christ which first taught the nation how to govern its affairs in Council assembled. "It was the men of Christ's fellowship who all through those far-off days were alive to the things-of the intellect, who kept burn- ing the torch oi learning and initiated in our country that system of education which now the State has taken under its wing. Look where you will in our Eng- lish life, you see the marks of -the men who wrote and spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. Look, for instance^ at" our care of the sick the whole hospital system originated in the Church. Look at our relief of the poor. Look at these feelings of humanity which underlie the movement which is commody cabled social reform. Every ore of them can be traced to the common mind which found its inspira,tion in the Gospel of Christ and was gradually formed by the impact of lives and utterances controlled by the Spirit. But the witness of the Church of E-t-gilaud was far from being confined to the nation, for she had tried to do her part in bribing God's Word to the njations of the world." Great Modern Movements. When we talk of the inspiration of the Spirit, we must never forget it<s pur- pose. It is to make the whole Church more effective as an agent in Christian- ising the life of this country of onis H -d of the world at large. It may be thought that the Spirit has not given utterance through many men in recent times. Yet to those who have ears to hear His voice has been clear a; d dis- tinct as it was of old. 'Whereas in oMen days He spoke mainly through in- dividuals, now He speaks as often as not through movements. Who can dcufot that to Him we owe the enormous accretions of knowledge which came to us in the nineteenth century. Who can doubt that His accents may be discovered, in all that is true and worthy in the great demo- cratic movement of the last fifty years. Who but He was the Inspirer of all that longing for better relationships between njations which was behind so much of the wotfk of the. Paris Conference and which found its vent perhaps most clearly in the pronouncements of the President of the United States of America," We are faced with a great opportunity for increasing the efficiency of our beloved Mother Church. The oonneetion of Britain, the of Leicester, with the Divine Society has been age-long in- deed. Our minds go hack to that iitife wattle building outside the gates of this city on the site of our present St. OM aT- garet's, where a Bishop of F eicesfetr ruled his flock in the name of Christ ai d sought to extend the Kingdolm 1,200 years ago as we seek to extend it to-day.. OUT Mother will do her work just "in so far as she responds to the movement of the Spirit just in so far as in speech .and action He is in full control." OTHER SUNDAY SERVICED, Practically every church in and around Leicester -had special preachers. At St. Peter's, where the Rev. W. Thompôon Elliott is doing a remarkable work, the Headmaster of Rugby (Dr. David) preached in the morning, while Provot Lethbridge, of St. Mary's, Glasgow, a d formerly Vicar of St. Peter's, was the preacher in the evening. I was parti- cularly struck with the number of you g men and women at St. Peter's at all the services. At the eight o'clock celebration there must have been nearliy 200 com- municants, and I am told that the average at the Sunday morning ce'eibna- tions there are three each Sundayâis over 200. This for a town like Leicester is truly a. cheering record. In the even- ing the congregation numbered 1,200, and many were turned away. At St. George's Church in the morning the preacher was the Bishop of St. An- drew's, and in the evening the Rev. R. J. Oampbell, D.D., preached a helpful ser- mon from th words, "Thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful." The Bishop's younger brother, the Rev. E. S. Woods, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, preached a forceful sermon at Holy Trinity, Leicester, in the morning, on the parable of the leaven. Too lovg had the Church been content with the roile of stretcher-bearer, carrying the am- bulance; now it must go ever the top." In times past they had said nothing about material and physical condiliors of ammy hundreds of thousands of p-eopie which required to be altered; hence- forward they must speak out boldly against all manner of abuse. Secondly, there lay upon the Church the task of bringing home to men and women-the idea of -a God, and imaking it operate on all r their liv.

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